Airbus Defense and Space
  • 15-Oct-2020 to 02-Feb-2021 (EST)
  • AIRBUS U.S. Space & Defense, Inc.
  • Arlington, VA, USA
  • Full Time

Airbus is an international pioneer in the aerospace industry. We are a leader in designing, manufacturing and delivering aerospace products, services and solutions to customers on a global scale. We aim for a better-connected, safer and more prosperous world.

A commercial aircraft manufacturer, with Space and Defense as well as Helicopters Divisions, Airbus is the largest aeronautics and space company in Europe and a worldwide leader.

Airbus has built on its strong European heritage to become truly international with roughly 180 locations and 12,000 direct suppliers globally. The company has aircraft and helicopter final assembly lines across Asia, Europe and the Americas, and has achieved a more than sixfold order book increase since 2000.

Position Summary: The Senior Systems Engineer, Optical Communications will be responsible for spacecraft optical communication subsystem engineering for Airbus US. This include the analysis, design, development and implementation of spacecraft optical communications equipment for new spacecraft designs.

Primary Responsibilities:

  1. 65%
  • Design and implement spacecraft optical communication equipment for new spacecraft designs and to accommodate a variety of new mission payloads onto heritage Airbus spacecraft platforms, including ARROW
  • Analyze, design, and/or develop optical communication systems to include:
    • Optical Intersatellite Links
    • Optical Modems
    • Coarse and Fine Pointing Assemblies
    • Pointing and Tracking Algorithms
    • System Performance Models
  • Ensure hardware compatibility with various expected mission environments (AO, radiation, etc.)
  • Support the development of system level requirements and requirement flow-down to the various components and parts as necessary - in all phases of the development lifecycle with particular emphasis on Design for Cost/Design for Manufacturability/Design for Test approaches
  • Ability to drive multiple design activities (programs or missions) could lead to spacecraft, payload, satellite bus, and/or launch integration activities;
  • Demonstrated ability to participate in cross-functional planning, coordination, and task execution situations involving the full spectrum of engineering development and integration activities;
  1. 15%
  • Support Airbus spacecraft development product roadmap: includes design adjustments, schedule, and cost targets aligned for future business captures.
  • Support the definition of spacecraft customization process for customer mission needs.
  1. 10%
  • Perform all the necessary optical communication system engineering activities to build, to maintain and to evolve the Airbus spacecraft products.

Additional Responsibilities: 10%

Other duties as assigned

Qualified Experience / Skills / Training:


  • Bachelor's degree in STEM (Science, Technical, Engineering, Math) or related scientific areas or combination of education and experience.
  • Preferred: Master's degree in STEM (Science, Technical, Engineering, Math) or related scientific areas or combination of education and experience.


  • A minimum of 10 years of experience with a Bachelor's degree, or 8 years of experience with a Master's degree in systems engineering for spacecraft (spacecraft optical or mechanical systems experience required; experience in spacecraft optical communications is a plus).
  • Proven track-record of working with satellite systems, starting from conceptual designs and tradeoffs thru detailed design, development, manufacture, integration, and test.
  • Design for Manufacturing/Design for Test experience highly desirable.

Knowledge, Skills, Demonstrated Capabilities:

  • Proficiency with Engineering tools relevant to opto-mechanical system design.
  • Familiarity with elements of space mission architectures extending beyond the satellite platform including launch, flight operations, mission CONOPS, user interfaces, etc.
  • Proficiency with MS Office applications.
  • Communicate in a clear and concise manner effectively across multiple levels.
  • Be team-minded and ready to work in a multi-functional and multi-cultural, fast-moving and complex/technical environment.
  • Flexible attitude and strong initiative.
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver results.

Communication Skills (Spoken, Written, Influencing, Proficiency in Other Languages):

  • Excellent listening, comprehension & interpersonal skills as responsible for daily communication via email and phone calls required.
  • Excellent analytical, interpersonal, communication (verbal/writing), and presentation skills.


  • Primary location is either Rosslyn, VA or Merritt Island, FL
  • If VA based, infrequent travel to Merritt Island, FL to work alongside OneWeb Satellites engineering staff
  • If FL based, infrequent travel to DC area to coordinate with VA-based team and present to various customers and mission partners
  • Infrequent international travel to collaborate with European Airbus counterparts
  • Possibility for on-site support during launch campaigns


  • US citizenship is required


  • Ability to obtain and maintain a Government security clearance
  • Active DoD security clearance at Secret or above highly desirable.

Organizational information:

Direct Reports: Exempt: 0

Non-exempt: 0

Equal Opportunity: Airbus is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. Airbus is also committed to compliance with all fair employment practices regarding citizenship and immigration status.

As a leader in our field, Airbus provides relocation assistance for qualified positions and a comprehensive compensation and benefits package.

As a matter of policy, Airbus does not sponsor visas for US positions unless specified. Only applicants with current work authorization will be considered.

Airbus does not offer tenured or guaranteed employment. Employment with Airbus is at will, meaning either the company or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice.

Airbus Defense and Space
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